I want to know if my mom could still sue after signing accepting payment for a settlement?

My mother who has multiple sclerosis, PTSD and depression was in a car accident about 2 weeks ago. The other driver’s insurance company contacted her offered her a settlement for her going to the ER for neck pain, which she said no longer hurt her and she went and signed and accepted the check for $500. I help my mom with pretty much all of her finances, I assist her with her daily living when needed. She is forgetful and also sometimes doesn’t understand what is going on. However, since the accident her health mainly mental has gotten worse. She was put on another depression medication and sleep aid, and also pain. She is having nightmares every night again. See my sister was in a car accident about a year ago and my mom had to take her took her off life support 9 months ago. I don’t think that my mom fully understood that she could of gotten help for more than just her neck.

Asked on December 21, 2018 under Personal Injury, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

1) As a general matter, it will depend on what forms or documents she signed as part of receiving the settlement. Except as set forth below, if she signed anything (as is likely) stating that the $500 was payment in full of all claims or giving up her right to sue, she can be held to that and would have given up he right to sue or seek further compensation.
2) If she did sign something like the above, IF she could be shown to have not been mentally compentent (e.g. due to PTSD or depression) at the time she signed it, it may be possible to escape the terms of the settlement: only mentally competent people can enter into contracts, including settlements. This would be a difficult thing to show: the presumption is of mental competence, and it would require compelling medical evidence or testimony of incompetence to escape any such settlement agreement.

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